Truck Restoration Projects
A Resto Duo of Grahams
NSW South Coast road transport identity, Neville Storey, is the custodian of two rare Graham trucks in a collection that’s dominated by Detroit Diesel powered Kenworths. Grahams obviously are special, to earn two places in Neville’s selective historic truck stable.
Historic Vehicles’ Jim Gibson has known Neville Storey for many years, but was curious to know how a KW fanatic developed an interest in the Graham brand. Neville told Jim that it was really through the back door:
“I’d bought an early Paige car,” said Neville Storey. “So it was after that purchase I became interested in the truck side of the Graham and Paige brands.
“I first found a Graham truck through my involvement with the Graham Owners Club International’s website.
“I’m a member of the Club and I’ve travelled to the USA for some of their rallies, and a few of the American members crossed to Pacific to attend a week-long rally we held here.”
The two Grahams that Neville has restored are 1927 models that were probably produced just before the departure of Ray, Joseph and Robert Graham from Dodge Motors. Check out the Graham story in our Truck Brands section.
Each truck is a three-quarter-ton model, built on a 116-inch (2946mm) wheelbase and powered by a 22i cubic inch (3.6-litre), 35bhp (26kW), Dodge side-valve four-cylinder engine, paradoxically called a ‘Fast Four’.
The engine is fed by a single updraft carburettor and power goes through a three-speed, non-synchromesh transmission to a live rear axle with differential.
The rear axle also mounts two-wheel drum brakes, but the black truck’s brakes have external compression bands, while the apparently later-built red truck’s brakes are internally expanding shoes in drums. Both systems are mechanically actuated.
Neville Storey said the left hand drive, black truck was bought new in 1927 by the Haskell family of California and, when he bought it in 2011, it had been in the same family for four generations.
“Greg Haskell, the grandson of the original buyer, had just finished restoring the truck, when he was killed in a motorcycle accident,” said Neville.
“He had two sons, but neither was remotely interested in or emotionally attached to the truck, so they just wanted to sell it.”
The family sent Neville photographs, as well as a comprehensive, professional appraisal report from an independent company and a deal was struck on the phone, across the Pacific.
The right hand drive red truck was an Australian import and when Neville Storey came across an advertisement for it in 2004 it was stored in a NSW North Coast shed. It had been restored by the family patriarch, who had passed away some time before. The family was selling the farm and everything on it.
When Neville went to collect the truck he found that it was too tall to fit through the shed door opening. Fortunately, the floor wasn’t concreted, so the easy way to extract it was by digging two furrows for the wheels to drive in.
Neville later discovered that the restoration hadn’t been a ‘nut and bolt’ job, because the engine was in poor condition. He pulled out the engine and did the job properly.
Both of Neville Storey’s Graham trucks have been displayed at various shows, but their top road speeds of only 40km/h are severely limiting, so they’re usually transported on a semi-trailer – usually being pulled by one of Neville Storey’s Kenworths!